The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC sees increase in stalking cases

The+statistics+above+include+the+Clery+Act+crimes+that+occurred+in+2015+and+2016+at+on-campus+locations%2C+off-campus+locations+and+public+property+adjacent+to+campus.
The statistics above include the Clery Act crimes that occurred in 2015 and 2016 at on-campus locations, off-campus locations and public property adjacent to campus.

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

TCC saw a decrease in rape and domestic violence cases but an increase in stalking incidents and dating violence cases in 2016, according to the college’s annual security report released Sept. 29.

Lt. David Herndon attributes the drop in rape and domestic violence incidents to available reporting location data, he said.

“As we gather stats from local agencies, agencies from cities, countries where students attend college-sponsored events, these crimes can be carried as public property or carried as non-campus locations,” he said.

The numbers can fluctuate yearly, Herndon said.

“In the incident of rape last year, one statistic came from a student trip location in another state, and another statistic came from an attempted rape, which gets counted as an actual rape for statistical purpose,” he said.

As for the increase in stalking incidents and dating violence cases, Herndon attributes that to the fact that the Department of Education has provided more information and clarification about collecting statistics on Violence Against Women Act crimes (domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault). That clarification was not initially available when those crimes were added to the Clery Act statistical data requirements, he said.

The TCC police department prepares the annual security report in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Crime Statistics Act.

“The Clery Act is a federal act that basically mandates colleges and universities to be more transparent in reporting crimes that are occurring at on-campus locations, non-campus locations and public property adjacent to the campus to keep students well informed,” Herndon said.

“An example of this is that for the past couple of years, in order to establish the course of conduct for a Clery stalking, two or more stalking incidents had to have occurred within our Clery geography,” Herndon said.

The new guidance from the Department of Education, however, states not all stalking incidents have to occur on campus, he said.

“Incidents that do not occur on college property can be combined with incidents that occur within our Clery geography to create a course of conduct,” Herndon said, “so that increases the number of stalking statistics.”

As for an increase in dating violence, the definition of an act of violence was broadened to include property damage and not just violence or threats against a person, he said.

“This may account for the increase in the dating violence statistics,” Herndon said.

While there were some increases, TCC reported lower crime numbers than other North Texas colleges.

“I believe the major contributing factor for our district constantly reporting lower crime numbers is the fact we do not have any residential on-campus housing,” Herndon said.

A lot of the college crimes are occurring at on-campus residential housing or established Greek housing locations, none of which TCC has, Herndon said.

TCC is consistently ranked among the safest colleges. Herndon attributes this to how vigilant campus officers are in patrolling the campus areas whether it be on foot, bicycle or marked unit, he said.

“The police officers receive diverse and highly functional training opportunities,” he said. “This includes Clery topics training and investigative training dealing with Clery crimes and other specialty fields.”

The campus complies with the act by providing the Clery crime statistics for the past three years via an annual security report, issuing timely warning notices when a Clery crime occurs that presents a serious or on-going threat to students and employees and by sending emergency notifications to notify the campus community, he said.

The report is designed to help students, parents of students and people looking to visit or work at the campus make informed decisions about the safety of the campuses, Herndon said.

The full report can be found on the TCC website. A printed copy can also be obtained by calling 817-515-5500 or by emailing maryjo.meloy@tccd.edu.

“We encourage all students, faculty and staff to review the report for themselves,” he said.

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